Current Developments

Truth or dare?

Blasphemy and the flawed logic of E.S. v. Austria

On 25 October 2018, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) handed down its decision in the case of E.S. v. Austria. The case had begun in the fall 2009 when the anonymized applicant E.S., who is a member of the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), gave two seminars about Islam. On this occasion she claimed that Muhammad, the most important prophet of Islam, was not a perfect human because …

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South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Multiperspectivism in and on international law

The symposium on “South and East Asian perspectives on international law” postulates that perspectives matter for the understanding, interpretation, and application of international law. I agree, but would like to caution against throwing out the baby with the bathwater by giving up the never-ending struggle for a bottom-up universalisation of the international legal discourse. Our scholarly approaches, arguments and assessments are value-loaded and connect to underlying political and theoretical preferences …

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South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Backlash against international law by the East?

How the concept of ‘transplantation’ helps us to better understand reception processes of international law

The symbolic metaphor of ‘Eastphalia’ that has been referred to in the opening post of this symposium, which is a wordplay around ‘Westphalia’, is very loaded in its curious terminological choice. Westphalia is a myth that plays a central role in the linear narrative on the development of international law from West to East. The analogy is not very flattering – as it is another ‘orientalist’ labeling that creates an impression …

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South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Are We Living in an Eastphalian Moment?

It is indisputable that economic and geopolitical power has shifted east and that the core-semi periphery-periphery symbolism, a common reference for liberal, socialist and postcolonial states, increasingly mischaracterizes the complexities of relations at play, as do voices who proclaim the beginning of the post-liberal world order. True, in liberal strongholds, nationalistically-minded authoritarianism is on the rise again, more subtle than in the first half of the 20thcentury, but with similar …

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South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

From Liberal and Equal to Fraternal International Legal Order?

Eastphalian Synthesis of Sovereignty and Governmentality

  A quarter half of a century has passed since Francis Fukuyama declared in The End of History the ultimate triumph of Western liberal democracy. Contrary to this prophecy, we are witnessing the sunset of the Western liberal international legal order. It has been revealed in several critical momentathat liberal internationalism has militant, interventionist character that causes paradoxical consequences of ‘illiberal liberalism’: in order to protect what a liberal State perceives …

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South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

A Japanese approach to international law

Territorial disputes and investment dispute settlements

In Japan, only a few academic scholars are aware of the plurality of academic scholarly perspectives. Most others do not think that their methods are different from the Western methods. This phenomenon is visible in international law study too. Such an attitude is not groundless. Japanese international law scholars are more internationalized than domestic law scholars. Most of them understand two or three European languages well, have experience of studying …

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Current Developments

Das Gespenst einer europäischen Armee

Rechtliche und politische Anmerkungen zu einer gemeinsamen europäischen Verteidigung

In den vergangenen Wochen geisterte einmal mehr die Vision einer europäischen Armee durch die Medien und Köpfe einiger europäischer Staats- und Regierungschefs. Die Idee einer stärkeren Kooperation der EU im militärischen Bereich ist nicht neu und auch heute schon in vielen Teilbereichen verwirklicht. Inwieweit sich die Pläne gemeinsamer Streitkräfte aber fernab von dem artikulierten europapolitischen Willen auch durchsetzen lassen, hängt von unterschiedlichen politischen und auch rechtlichen Faktoren ab. Ein Blick …

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South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

The Ecological Atlas of International Law

A Chinese Reading of Three Celebrated Works in the Comparative International Law Discourse

In an effort to “identify, analyze, and explain similarities and differencesin how international law is understood, interpreted, applied, and approached by different national and international actors”, comparative international law as a research area has recently received more scholarly attention, at a time when faith in international law’s universality seems to be declining. In light of the dynamics of international power, especially the rise of China, “multiperspectivism” is expected to facilitate …

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South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

The ‘Standard of Civilization’ in international law

Intellectual perspectives fom pre-war Japan

Any history of international law in Japan and the discourse on Japan’s semi-civilized status begin with nineteenth-century European encounters. Although there is thick literature on the ‘pre-modern’ international order in the Far East, the normative connection between Japan’s various responses to this order, on the one hand, and its engagement with the nineteenth-century European notion of the standard of civilization, on the other, is not adequately spelled out. I argue …

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Current Developments

Brexit means Brexit!?

Zum möglichen Fortgang der Brexit-Odyssee nach der Absage der Abstimmung im britischen Unterhaus

“Brexit means Brexit!“ So lautete das Mantra, das von der britischen Premierministerin im Nachklang zur Brexitentscheidung immer wieder vorgetragen wurde. Das offenbarte nicht nur eine gewisse Hilflosigkeit, sondern zeigte zugleich, dass die noch von David Cameron vornehmlich aus innenpolitischen Gründen initiierte (unverbindliche) Volksbefragung auch aus demokratietheoretischer Sicht keine Meisterleistung war: Nicht weil das Ergebnis „falsch“ gewesen wäre, sondern weil keine Ja-/Nein-Frage gestellt worden war. Formal stand zwar die Entscheidung zwischen …

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South and East Asian Perspectives on International LawSymposium

Are We Living in the “Eastphalian” Moment?

South and East Asian Perspectives on International Law

Diverging views and perspectives on international law are unavoidable. The global span of this body of law and the different geographical, cultural, religious and educational backgrounds of those who work with it contribute importantly to the understanding of its normative frameworks. Multiperspectivism and situatedness thus somewhat seem to be inherent to the DNA of international law (see e.g. here; see also this recent book). The fact that scholars from different countries and continents …

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Völkerrechtsblog

Funding Völkerrechtsblog

The German national research funding organization DFG will support Völkerrechtsblog in the coming years

Since its inception in 2014, Völkerrechtsblog has been run by dedicated volunteers who spent countless hours of their spare time, and sometimes even their own money, on the blog. As workload and expectations have been growing, the time has come to secure more sustainable funding and to further professionalize the blog. We are thus happy to announce that Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the German national research funding organization, has awarded funding to …

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Current Developments

Voting down international law?

Lessons from Switzerland for compensatory constitutionalism

There was quite some relief in Switzerland when it became clear on Sunday 25thNovember that the so called “initiative on democratic self-determination” had been rejected by the voters (the end result with 66 percent no-votes was much clearer than expected). While it is nothing new in Switzerland that popular initiatives are launched which lead to conflicts with international law (just remember the popular initiatives on the ban of minarets, on the …

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Current Developments

A power struggle or something more?

The current disqualification saga at the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals

The past six months at the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, the successor organisation of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda (in the following: the Mechanism), have witnessed an unprecedented series of disqualification motions in both the Mladić and Karadžić appeals trials. While the events have been largely claimed to be the result of an internal power struggle between two senior judges at …

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Current Developments

Der Globale Migrationspakt: Zwischen Mythen und Sorgen

Die österreichische Bundesregierung hat bekanntgegeben, dem globalen Migrationspakt fernzubleiben. Ein Schritt, der in Deutschland von der AfD bejubelt wurde. Woher kommt die Skepsis? Fest steht: Um den Text ranken sich zahlreiche Mythen, aber auch Missverständnisse. Grund genug, einige davon aufzuklären.

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DiscussionResponse

Why International Investment Law is not violated by the GDPR

In her recent blog article, Vishaka Ramesh claims that International Investment Law is violated by Data Protection Principles around the world, supporting her thesis in particular with rules set out by the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union (GDPR). In her opinion, principles like Data Minimization and Localization are likely to infringe generally accepted principles of investment law, such as the fair and equitable standard of treatment of …

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Current DevelopmentsResponse

Die neue WSK-Rechtsprechung des IAGMR

Impulse für Arbeitnehmerrechte in Lateinamerika

In einem früheren Post auf diesem Blog hat Lucas Sánchez eine bedeutende Rechtsprechungsänderung des Interamerikanischen Gerichtshofs für Menschenrechte (IAGMR) im Bereich der wirtschaftlichen, sozialen und kulturellen Rechte (WSK-Rechte) thematisiert. Zentral hierfür ist die Entscheidung Lagos del Campo vs. Peru vom August 2017, in welcher der Gerichtshof erstmals die direkte Justiziabilität der WSK-Rechte unter Artikel 26 der Amerikanischen Konvention für Menschenrechte (AMRK) bestätigt. In seiner Reaktion darauf beleuchtete Pedro Villarreal die Auswirkungen dieser Rechtsprechungsänderung für das …

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DiscussionKick-off

Between Narratives and Borders

Analyzing Ethiopia’s Domestic Labor Migration to the Gulf Countries

A significant number of Ethiopians are migrating to the Gulf countries to work in the domestic labor market. In late 2013, the Ethiopian government passed a temporary ban on labor migration, which was subsequently lifted five years later in January 2018. How have these legal developments shaped the current situation, and what are the major push factors influencing Ethiopian labor migration? Two factors are particularly noteworthy: first, a state monopoly …

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Discussion

Cyber-War oder Cyber-Wahn?

Wenn Ungenauigkeiten im allgemeinen Sprachgebrauch juristische Unterscheidungen gefährden

Der Cyberkrieg ist in aller Munde. Ein aktueller, in den Medien als „Cyberkrieg“ bezeichnete Vorfall vom 4. Oktober betraf die Spionageaffäre in den Niederlanden. Vier Agenten des russischen Geheimdienstes hatten versucht, in das Computernetzwerk der Organisation für ein Chemiewaffenverbot (OPCW) einzudringen, mit dem mutmaßlichen Ziel, die Ermittlungen zum Giftgasangriff auf den abtrünnigen russischen Agenten Skripal und seine Tochter zu sabotieren. Prompt nachdem die niederländischen Behörden über die Spionageaktion informiert hatten, war …

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Current DevelopmentsResponse

The Direct Justiciability of the Right to Health at the IACtHR

What is the Added Value?

In a previous post, Lucas Sánchez discussed how the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) recently found, for the first time, a direct violation of the right to health in the case of Poblete Vilches vs. Chile. His post examines the shift from an indirect towards a direct justiciability regarding the violation of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESC Rights) established in Article 26 of the American Convention on Human …

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DiscussionResponse

Im „Handelskrieg“ schweigen die Gesetze

Im gegenwärtigen Disput zwischen den USA auf der einen und einer Reihe von anderen WTO-Mitgliedern auf der anderen Seite stößt das Welthandelsrecht an seine Grenzen. Die US-Zölle verstoßen jedenfalls gegen WTO-Recht, auch eine Berufung auf mögliche Ausnahmen erscheint höchst fragwürdig. Allerdings steht auch die Reaktion der EU auf rechtlich wackeligen Beinen. Die US-Zölle und das WTO-Recht Trumps größte Sorge gilt China, forderte er doch bereits im Zuge seines Wahlkampfs die …

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Current DevelopmentsResponse

Plausibility and the ICJ

A response to Somos and Sparks

Since the ICJ’s 2001 decision in LaGrand (Germany v US), the Court’s jurisprudence on provisional measures indicated under Article 41 of its Statute has expanded dramatically. This is for two reasons—both, in my mind, connected to LaGrand. In the first place, with the Court having declared its provisional measures binding, it was incumbent upon it to ensure their requirements were clear and predictable. In the second (and in view of …

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DiscussionResponse

Taking Trump Seriously

Why international lawyers are at loss in dealing with Trump

In her recent contribution “Trump’s latest attack on international law”, Lena Riemer very accurately points out the threat to international customs and institutions posed by Trump and – currently – by his candidate for the US Supreme Court: Brett Kavanaugh. She demonstrates how Kavanaugh has repeatedly shown disrespect for humanitarian law and human rights in his career as a judge for the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of …

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Discussion

Data Protection Principles Around the World

Do They Violate International Investment Law?

There has been a recent surge in the proliferation of data protection regulations globally, the most recent example of which is the General Data Protection Regulation. Since data protection laws across the world have become increasingly extra-territorial in their reach, there is a higher propensity for foreign entities to be affected by them.

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Current Developments

The urgent, the plausible and the irreparable

The significance of lowering ICJ thresholds for provisional measures

The ICJ’s decision on Iran’s application for provisional measures in its high-profile proceedings against the United States of America for alleged violations of their 1955 Treaty of Amity was handed down on Wednesday. This tightly constrained and circumscribed stage of the proceedings, though only a precursor to the far more significant jurisdictional and merits stages—each of which has the potential to ask questions with lasting significance for international law and …

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DiscussionKick-off

Will Tariff Wars Unravel the Multilateral Trading System?

History is not unfamiliar with the rigours of tariff wars. Back in the 1930s, retaliatory tariff escalation led to the great depression, which in turn contributed to the Second World War. Leaders of the free world sought to revive the beleaguered global economy through free and fair trade. Years of negotiations aimed at increasing market access and curtailing protectionism culminated in the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The …

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Cultural Heritage in a Post-Colonial WorldSymposium

Zwischen Recht und Politik

Die Rechts- und Eigentumsverhältnisse an Kulturgütern der Kolonialzeit nach deutschem Zivilrecht und Völkerrecht

Bisher „ungedachte juristische Konstruktionen“ wünscht sich Bénédicte Savoy, wenn sie in ihrem jüngsten Werk über die Zukunft des (kolonialen) Kulturerbes nachdenkt. Doch wie ist eigentlich die Rechtslage an kolonialen Kulturobjekten? Bestehen Ansprüche zur Rückforderung solcher Güter? Diese Fragen hat unlängst der Deutsche Museumsbund in einem „Leitfaden zum Umgang mit Sammlungsgut aus kolonialen Kontexten“ aufgegriffen (S. 65 ff.). Befund der Analyse: Ansprüche auf Rückforderung kolonialer Kulturgüter bestehen weder nach deutschem Zivilrecht noch nach …

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Current Developments

Kofi Annan and International Law in Kenya

Dr. Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General of the United Nations, died recently. Many Kenyans took to social media to mourn the death of the African diplomat they had come to know through his efforts in curbing the 2008 post-election violence. Annan and the 2007 Election in Kenya The 2007 election in Kenya was charged and emotive. Mr. Raila Odinga, the then President Kibaki’s main challenger, had assembled an impressive …

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Current Developments

On the decriminalisation of homosexuality in India

With its judgment of 6 September 2018 (Navtej Johar v Union of India), the Indian Supreme Court has put an end to the criminalisation of same-sex acts between consenting adults, allowing the country’s LGBT+ community to celebrate a long overdue win after a nearly two decades lasting fight for legal recognition. The law in question, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), introduced in the 19th century under British colonial …

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Call for ContributionsEvent

Conference Announcement and CfP: Cynical International Law?

A joint conference by AjV and DGIR, supported by Völkerrechtsblog

Völkerrechtsblog is proud to announce its support of a joint conference of the Working Group of Young Scholars in Public International Law (Arbeitskreis junger Völkerrechtswissenschaftler*innen – AjV) and the German Society of International Law (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationales Recht – DGIR) on the topic of

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Cultural Heritage in a Post-Colonial WorldSymposium

Artefact or heritage?

Colonial collections in Western museums from the perspective of international (human rights) law

“One of the most noble incarnations of a people’s genius is its cultural heritage. The vicissitudes of history have nevertheless robbed many peoples of this inheritance. They .. have not only been despoiled of .. masterpieces but (were) also robbed of a memory .. These men and women have the right to recover these cultural assets which are part of their being…“ [Secr.Gen. UNESCO M’Bow, 1978] Forty years after this …

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Cultural Heritage in a Post-Colonial WorldSymposium

Ambivalent Futures

On the restitution of objects and white innocence

The legacies of colonialism and imperialism are keeping the European museum scene busy. At first glance, it seems that colonial amnesia is overcome and museums are paving the way for postcolonial restorative justice. A second glance, though, might reveal inconsistencies and shortcomings structuring present museum work. The current debate mainly focuses on objects being looted, exchanged, extorted or bought under colonial rule, and considers the restitution of objects to former …

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Current Developments

Trump’s latest attack on international law

How the nomination of judge Kavanaugh to the supreme court could shape the USA’s approach to international obligations

It seems that US-President Donald Trump has won a powerful supporter for his onslaught on international law and international institutions: Supreme Court Judge nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The nomination of judge Brett Kavanaugh by Donald Trump as successor for the departing judge Kennedy has understandingly only received mediocre attention in European media and within the public law community whereas this issue seems to prevail debates in recent weeks amongst US scholars and large …

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Cultural Heritage in a Post-Colonial WorldSymposium

Property and Possession

Some considerations on the history of ideas relating to a pair of legal concepts

In his preface to the German dictionary Deutsches Wörterbuch, Jacob Grimm calls the German legal language of his time “unhealthy and feeble, much overloaded with Roman terminology” (Dt. WBVorrede, XXXI). In contrast, he praises the graphic clarity of early German legal writing, which had already been the subject of his wonderful treatise “About Poetry in Law” (1816). It says (in the consistently lower case writing which he favoured): “german laws …

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Cultural Heritage in a Post-Colonial WorldSymposium

Eigentum und Besitz

Ein paar ideengeschichtliche Gedanken zu einem juristischen Begriffspaar

In der Vorrede zum Deutschen Wörterbuch nennt Jacob Grimm die deutsche Rechtssprache seiner Zeit „ungesund und saftlos, mit römischer terminologie hart überladen“ (Dt. WBVorrede, XXXI). Er lobt dagegen die griffige Anschaulichkeit altdeutscher Gesetzestexte, die er bereits als junger Mann in seiner wunderbaren Abhandlung Von der Poesie im Recht (1816) zum Forschungsgegenstand gemacht hatte. Darin heißt es – Grimm war ein Vertreter der konsequenten Kleinschreibung : „die deutschen gesetze enthalten eine menge …

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Cultural Heritage in a Post-Colonial WorldSymposium

Dekoloniale Perspektiven zu Berlins Humboldt Forum

Positionen und Kritik von Dekolonisierungsaktivist*innen

Jährlich demonstrieren Afrikaner*innen aus ehemaligen (deutschen) Kolonien sowie People of Colour (PoC) und Schwarze diasporische bzw. migrantische Communities für die Anerkennung kolonialen Unrechts und die Rückgabe von Gebeinen und Kultursubjekten,[1] die im Zuge des Kolonialismus nach Deutschland gebracht wurden. Die öffentliche Aufmerksamkeit für koloniales Unrecht und die Rückgabe von Gebeinen und Kultursubjekten war bisher begrenzt, bekommt nun aber durch ein ca. 600 Millionen Euro schweres Projekt neuen Auftrieb: Derzeit wird …

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DiscussionResponse

Gibt es noch Hoffnung für überstaatliche Demokratie?

Plädoyer für einen wehrhaften Internationalismus

In seinem Interview auf diesem Blog vertritt Armin von Bogdandy die Position, dass sich die Rahmenbedingungen für überstaatliche Demokratie in den letzten Jahren verschärft hätten. Zwar zeigt er sich überzeugt, dass die überlieferten Prinzipien demokratischen Regierens im Grundsatz auch weiterhin für überstaatliche Ebenen maßgeblich und sinnvoll seien. Es müsse jedoch gelingen, die Entfremdung bestimmter Bevölkerungsteile von überstaatlichen Institutionen zu überwinden und den in vielen Ländern (wieder-)auferstandenen autoritären Nationalismus institutionell einzufangen. …

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Cultural Heritage in a Post-Colonial WorldSymposium

Wozu internationaler Kulturgüterschutz?

Interdisziplinäre Grundlagen eines kontroversen Rechtsgebiets

Was ist Kultur? Die Frage nach der Bestimmung des, prima facie, hoffnungslos unbestimmbaren Begriffs ist in den Kultur- und Sozialwissenschaften aktueller denn je. Leidenschaftlich wird darum gefochten, ob Kultur offen oder geschlossen, Konstruktion, Essenz oder Ressource sei. Dabei geht es natürlich nicht nur um akademische Begriffsbestimmung, sondern – wie sollte es auch anders sein – um die Gewinnung einer Deutungsschablone für die Erklärung der großen gesellschaftlichen Umbrüche und Spannungen unserer …

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Cultural Heritage in a Post-Colonial WorldSymposium

Cultural heritage protection: a truly “global” legal problem?

In the course of recent years, international legal efforts to safeguard cultural heritage have undergone two seemingly contrasting developments: on the one hand, the general public has expressed an increasing concern with regards to the protection of cultural heritage from destruction and looting, first in light of the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, and most recently as a result of the acts of the Islamic State in …

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Cultural Heritage in a Post-Colonial WorldSymposium

The politics of cultural heritage protection in international law

A new history crushing the narrative of a success story

Every legal field has its own history and every history has its own master narrative, in the case of international law protecting cultural heritage it is a plain success story. International legal efforts to safeguard cultural goods and sites started in the interwar period. It was after the horrifying destructions of the First World War that internationalists and lawyers discussed how to efficiently protect artefacts of artistic and historical value. …

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Current Developments

A further “constitutionalization” to the detriment of the individual?

On the ECtHR’s stricter reading of the principle of subsidiarity regarding the admissibility of cases

When the ECtHR presented its most recent statistics at the beginning of this year, at first glance this looked like a huge success: The number of pending applications before the Court are down at 56’250, as compared to 79’750 in 2016. Looking back to 2011, when the Court docket had reached its peak with almost 152’000 pending applications, the difference is even more striking. Moreover, last year, the Court managed …

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Current Developments

Der IAGMR und WSK-Rechte

Eine wegweisende Rechtsprechungsänderung

Jüngst hat der Interamerikanische Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte (IAGMR) zum ersten Mal eine direkte Verletzung des Rechts auf Gesundheit auf der Basis von Art. 26 der Amerikanischen Konvention für Menschenrechte (AMRK) erklärt. Im Fall Poblete Vilchez vs. Chile wurde unter anderem aufgrund eines ärztlichen Fehlverhaltens und einer Diskriminierung in der Erbringung medizinischer Dienstleistungen, die schließlich zum Tode des Betroffenen führten, die Verantwortlichkeit Chiles für die Verletzung des Rechts auf Gesundheit von Herrn …

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DiscussionResponse

Artenschutz als Menschenrecht?

Gedanken zum „Recht auf eine gesunde Umwelt“

In dem Beitrag „Human rights and the international protection of biodiversity – a promising alliance“ (Teil 1 und Teil 2) stellt Romy Klimke die These auf, dass der Schutz der Biodiversität untrennbar mit der Verwirklichung von Menschenrechten verbunden sei. Sie greift dabei auf den Bericht von John Knox, Sonderberichterstatter der Vereinten Nationen für Umwelt und Menschenrechte (A/HRC/34/49), zurück und argumentiert, dass diese Thematik in der aktuellen Debatte bisher kaum berücksichtigt …

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Interview

Demokratie und Völkerrecht

Ein Interview mit Armin von Bogdandy

Es wird zur Zeit viel über die Funktionsfähigkeit von Demokratie und über die Effektivität internationalen Rechts gesprochen, aber selten über beides zusammen. Wer wäre besser aufgestellt, um dazu etwas Erhellendes zu sagen, als Armin von Bogdandy, der sich seit vielen Jahren mit den Zusammenhängen von Demokratie und Völkerrecht befasst? Armin von Bogdandy bedarf keiner Vorstellung, wie es so schön heißt, er ist Direktor am Heidelberger Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches öffentliches Recht …

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Current Developments

Somaliland and Secession Politics in Eastern Africa

Somalia has been that isolated relative that no one speaks about. The one that lives in a little hut, far away from the general community, with little interaction with anyone. Nieces and nephews do not visit her, because she is said to be a witch. Everyone fears her, and so she is largely ignored. Nobody wants to go near her homestead. Since the overthrow of Siad Barre in 1991, Somalia …

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Current Developments

Examining the Legal Anomalies Created by Inconsistencies between the European Convention on Human Rights and the Dayton Constitution

On 15th February, 2016, Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter Bosnia) applied for membership to the European Union. It has since seen little progress towards achieving this goal, which is heavily due to the incompatibilities of its Constitution with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (hereinafter the Convention). While Bosnia’s application for EU membership has brought these incompatibilities to the fore, this issue dates back to …

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